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"Shame on you" Coroner tells UK media

Wed 29 May 2013 In: International News View at Wayback

A UK Coroner has hit out at the media over the death of a trans teacher who took her own life after her gender reassignment became national news. Michael Singleton singled out the Daily Mail as he accused the paper of "ridicule and humiliation" and a "character assassination" of Lucy Meadows, who took her own life in Lancashire in March. He urged the government to implement the recommendations of the Leveson report on press intrusion as he criticised the "sensational and salacious" media coverage. "Lucy Meadows was not somebody who had thrust herself into the public limelight. She was not a celebrity. She had done nothing wrong," Singleton said. "Her only crime was to be different. Not by choice but by some trick of nature. And yet the press saw fit to treat her in the way that they did." As he closed the inquest, he turned to the reporters present and said: "And to you the press, I say shame, shame on all of you." Meadows, 32, was found dead three months after gender reassignment surgery. The head teacher at the school where she worked wrote a newsletter advising parents and students the popular teacher should be addressed as Miss Meadows after the Christmas break. Richard Littlejohn, a columnist for the Daily Mail, wrote an article headlined: "He's not only in the wrong body … he's in the wrong job", in which he asked whether anyone had thought of "the devastating effect" on the pupils of Meadows's change in gender. He wrote: "Why should they be forced to deal with the news that a male teacher they have always known as Mr Upton will henceforth be a woman called Miss Meadows?" Littlejohn belittled and harassed Meadows, referring to her transition as her “personal problems” and playing on the outdated scare tactic that LGBT people are a threat to children. There are reports the media offered parents money for a picture of Meadows, and she had to leave her house by the back door, and arrive at school very early, or very late, in order to avoid the press pack.     

Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff

First published: Wednesday, 29th May 2013 - 8:49am

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